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Bars Liable in Drunken Brawl, but Not McDonald's

This is a case for why McDonald's should never offer alcohol or host a happy hour.

It's also an awful lesson about not drinking and fighting because Patrick Casey died outside a McDonald's in a drunken brawl. His parents sued the fast-food restaurant and the bars that allegedly served the brawlers too much booze.

In Casey v. McDonalds Corporation, a trial judge threw out their case. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, however, said the plaintiffs have a case -- but not against McDonald's.

Challenge to Workplace Silica Rule Rejected

As a rule, no silica is good silica.

That actually is a rule of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Or in the words of the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, it is "no exposure level below which workers would not be expected to develop adverse health effects."

Industry groups had challenged the zero tolerance rule, which is designed to protect workers from exposure to the chemical compound. But in North America's Building Trades Unions v. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the appeals court upheld it.

Court Affirms Case Against Muslim FBI Agent

When the FBI gets involved, you would expect some cloak-and-dagger story. This is not that movie.

In Gill v. United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, the real-life drama is about as interesting as a long case citation. Basically, agent Kaiser Gill lost his security clearance because he searched an FBI database without authorization.

One detail, however, caught the attention of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Gill said the FBI revoked his security clearance because he is Muslim.

The countries of Sudan and Iran may finally be getting some relief from an over $14 billion judgment entered against them in the U.S. Federal District Court. The judgment is the result of an action filed against the nations for harboring the terrorists, members of al Qaeda, responsible for a coordinated attack on two U.S. embassies abroad in 1998.

Unfortunately for the two nations, neither lodged an appearance before the judgment was made final. Since that time, the nation of Sudan has appealed the judgment, and lost. However, the most recent order trimmed the $4 billion plus award of punitive damages off the total judgment.

Russian hackers, Chinese cyberterrorists, Ethiopian malware -- if you're a victim of any of state-sponsored hacking, you may be out of luck. Individuals who accuse foreign governments of hacking have virtually no access to the federal courts, the D.C. Circuit ruled on Tuesday. That's because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act prevents suits against other nations, and its exception for noncommercial torts doesn't apply to hacking organized from abroad, the court explained.

The ruling is a "dangerous decision for cybersecurity," critics claim.

Fish Conservation Lawsuit Fails at DC Circuit

In a suit brought before the DC Circuit, plaintiffs claimed that federal agencies acted unlawfully by neglecting to manage various stocks of ocean fish in the Atlantic. The circuit decided to affirm the decision of a lower district court, finding, essentially, that the plaintiffs were blaming the wrong people for their woes.

But even if the plaintiffs had chosen the proper target for their suit, the plaintiffs would still be out of luck, because the law essentially stipulates that a "final agency action" has very particular requirements. Sometimes, you're just not destined to win in court.

A $2 billion class action brought by injured defense contractor employees against military contractors and insurance companies was dismissed by the D.C. Circuit on Thursday. The defense contractor employees suffered a range of injuries while working for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, from lost limbs, to traumatic brain injuries.

Their suit argued that they were repeatedly denied medical care, given false information and had benefits impermissibly withheld. However, the D.C. Circuit found that, since the workers were covered by the Defense Base Act, that Act's exclusivity provision prevented any common-law or state remedies for their claims.

The past few weeks have been busy for cases originating in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in three cases, two of them related, and issued a decision today. The two related cases involve the interpretation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the third case granted cert. involves the delegation doctrine, while the High Court decision issued today interprets the Clean Air Act.

For details on these cases, read on.

Esquire Wins Battle for Satire in 'Birther' Suit

The D.C. Circuit ruled for Esquire Magazine on Tuesday, putting the final nail in a defamation suit against the publication for satirizing a "birther" book's release.

Larry Klayman, the attorney for "birther" publisher and conservative website founder Joseph Farah, called the court's decision to uphold the lower court's dismissal of the case "dishonest," reports Examiner.com.

What exactly did the court think of Esquire's article?

Goodbye Nuclear Waste Fees: Return to Yucca Mtn.

The D.C. Circuit axed annual fees for nuclear waste disposal on Tuesday, noting that the government had left the Court no option while Yucca Mountain is tied up in red tape.

Politico reports that since the Obama administration has continuously demonstrated its resistance toward finishing the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, it is ludicrous for the Department of Energy to collect its "0.1-cent charge from utilities and customers for each nuclear-generated kilowatt-hour of electricity."

The fee has fed the Nuclear Waste Fund for the last three decades, but not after this week's D.C. Circuit ruling.